The police’s anti-match-fixing squad apprehended on Monday nine people allegedly involved in fixing a soccer match in Palangkaraya, a police official announced. The official said the nine were being questioned at the Central Kalimantan police headquarters.
“The local police had been tipped off that there had been match fixing behind the Sunday match between the Kalteng Putra club and Persela Lamongan, which was won 2-0 by Kalteng Putra. A team [of investigators] was deployed to follow up on the information, which led to the arrests,” anti-match-fixing squad spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono told journalists as quoted by Detik.com.
He said a referee, an assistant referee and other match officials were among the nine people arrested.
The tip-off originated with Kalteng Putra players who complained that they had not received their salaries for two months.When the police investigated they found evidence of match fixing along the way.
The the arrest was initially announced by the Save Our Soccer coalition coordinator Akmal Marhali and afterwards verified by the police.
Akmal praised the arrest, saying it showed that the police were still monitoring potential match fixing. However, he warned the police squad not to pick the wrong guy.
“Therefore, we demand the police mean business in this case so they catch the real perpetrators,” he said.
Commenting on this case, Ignatius Indro of the Indonesia National Team Supporters Association said he was quite pessimistic that the arrest would end the illegal practice for good.
He said punishment did not seem to deter many from engaging in match fixing.
“We just don’t have the resources to monitor and make sure that these perpetrators are kept at bay on a daily basis. They are likely to benefit from these loopholes,” Indro told The Jakarta Post.
Besides, he added, the fact that there were times when the squad was deactivated had lured them out of hiding.
The anti-match-fixing squad was led by Brig. Gen. Hendro Pandowo, who also currently serves as the National Police’s internal affairs division head. The squad had previously been tasked with following up on reports made by Persibara club manager Lasmi Indaryani. Lasmi said that she was asked to pay Rp 500 million to save her spot as a host for a third tier league match.
The police had arrested 15 people involved in the case, including acting PSSI chief Joko Driyono, over allegations he commanded his associates to get rid of material that could be used as evidence by the police.
The squad was disbanded on June 21, but on Aug.9 the police decided to reactivate it for four months, but it was to operate with a different approach. The squad activated local members to detect any potential match fixing.